Last night I had the opportunity to re-watch a documentary called “Peace Officer”. I attended a screening of the film about 9 months ago and enjoyed the opportunity to re-visit the issue. The film documents the use of force by police officers recounting several instances in Utah of SWAT Team deployment. I’ve spoken of this before, specifically from the perspective of a gun owner being served a no-knock raid on my home at night, fearing that I mistake the police officers for burglars and attempt to defend my family and my home. You can read about that here. With the increase in raids on people’s homes, there is also an increase in the errors made causing raids on the wrong homes. So even if you do not break any law, there is still the possibility of this happening to you. As someone who prepares regularly for the possibility of needing to defend myself and my family, I have found this situation to be among the most frightening.
The film highlights the SWAT standoff with Brian Wood, a firearm from Farmington City, Utah that lasted 12 hours. The standoff ended with the police shooting Wood which started a 3 year investigation by Dub Lawrence, the Father-in-Law of Wood who was the former Davis County Sheriff. The film also highlighted a couple of cases where police serving warrants engaged in a gun battle with the occupant after feeling threatened. The film reviews the cases and portrays the possibility in both cases for the resident to legitimately claim that they feared for their life without knowledge that the police were entering their home, but instead believed it was burglars and they felt the need to respond with force. However, using that defense against police officers is an uphill losing battle. The film also highlights one case where police serve a warrant (knock and announce) on a family where the husband feared for his family’s life and grabbed a baseball bat. He answered the door only to find out that it was the police, but had he answered with a firearm he would have been shot on site, according to the police officer serving the warrant. The police questioned the family and found out that the warrant was issued for the wrong person and he wasn’t the subject they were looking for.
While there are no simple solutions and it remains a tough issue for all of us to fix, the fact remains that gun owners need to be aware of the issue and hopefully have a way of securing their family as they determine who is knocking on their door.